Penn State head coach James Franklin had his first press conference of the spring on Monday where he covered quite a bit regarding the Nittany Lions as they begin spring practices. Here are some key points of discussion from his presser...
On recent hires within his opening statement:
It’s been a busy offseason for James Franklin making multiple hires on the coaching staff. Franklin started his press conference discussing those coaching hires as part of his opening statement, this is what he had to say...
“Obviously, the hires of Mike Yurcich, Ty Howle and Anthony Poindexter. Feel really good about all three of those moves that we made in the offseason. Feel like not only have they jumped in with both feet from a football perspective, but also culturally have been great fits as well. I’ve known Anthony Poindexter for a long time and tried to hire him on several occasions, so this worked out really well. Mike Yurcich, I think you guys know we’ve been involved with Mike for the last couple of years. Then, obviously, you know we were able to interview Ty Howle for over a year on our staff and have been really impressed with him. Ty leads me into the next point. It’s pretty cool right now that we’ve got six Penn State football lettermen on our staff with Terry Smith, Ty Howle, Deion Barnes, Wendy Laurent, Alan Zemaitis and Todd Kulka. So really cool we have six of those guys in our program that can provide tremendous information and insight from a historical, tradition perspective. Excited about having those guys.”
Elaborating, later on, regarding have letterman on the staff:
Later in his press conference, Franklin was asked about the importance of having lettermen on Penn State’s staff;
“I think it’s really important. I think those guys can provide a unique experience to our players. They can have a conversation that is very different than anybody else because they lived it and there is tremendous value in that. It’s also a place that these guys are really passionate about. So, whether it’s with our current players, whether it’s with recruits, those are things that are going to be discussed and discussed in detail. It’s going to come from a unique perspective and it’s going to obviously come with a tremendous amount of passion for Penn State and what this place has meant to them. So, those things are really important to us and very important to me.”
Regarding the possibility of a spring game this spring:
Last year, Penn State of course did not have a spring game. As we move slowly back towards normalcy, stadium capacity across the country is slowly rising including here in Pennsylvania where you can now have 50% of capacity in outdoor settings. We learned from Sandy Barbour a little back that Penn State is more focused on being ready to go for fans in the spring but will the Nittany Lions have any sort of traditional spring game this year? Here’s what Franklin had to say...
“There’s some discussions right now going on with that at the university level, with our administration as well as the administration on campus in Old Main and just making sure we’re all on the same page. I think for us, you know, our entire focus is on what can we do to best position us for next year. We want to try to be able to get back as close to normal as we possible can. For next season, I think a lot of things are trending in that direction, nationally as well as within our state. So that’s kind of our focus. From a football-strictly perspective, the things that I’m most comfortable speaking on, we will on our Friday and Saturday practices, we will scrimmage. We will get those opportunities in some way. A final practice or final scrimmage, however you want to put it, a lot of times those things in such a public setting like that are pretty vanilla. This would allow us to have a true 15th practice where we’re putting everything out there from an evaluation standpoint, as well. But there’s still some conversations that are still being worked through. We hope to make an announcement here sooner rather than later. From a football perspective, from an athletic department perspective and then, obviously, always aligned with President Barron and Old Main. We’ll wait until that’s announced.”
On sophomore running back Noah Cain’s availability this spring:
Last season, we saw Noah Cain’s season end on the first drive of the season opener against Indiana. Franklin provided the following update on the sophomore running back.
“With Noah, we think probably the second half of spring ball, we’ll get some work out of him. It’s hard to predict how much, you know.”
On looking in the transfer portal for potential quarterbacks:
Penn State’s quarterback play last season left much to be desired. As a result, James Franklin and company have been actively searching the transfer portal for more quarterback options but have yet to land another signal caller.
“From a transfer portal standpoint, again, it’s about going out and finding the guy that can come in and compete and has some experience and, again, we’ll see how that goes. But we’re open to the topic and we’re open to discussing it, but we’ve got to make sure that we’re bringing the right person in here not only from an academic and cultural fit, but also from a competitive perspective as well. So, we’re not just going to bring somebody in to bring somebody in. We’ve got to make sure that it all makes sense and everything’s been communicated and understood.”